August 12, 1998
August 10th saw the launch of a new Web site that will probably be of considerable interest to readers of XML.com. The Web Standards Project has been created by a group of big-league Web site designers who have run out of patience with doing different versions of their work to fit ever growing incompatibilities between browsers and standards.
The premise is that while the W3C has been very successful, in recent times, at creating new standards, there doesn't seem to be any organization that is doing an equivalently good job at advocacy; at preaching that these new standards ought to be used, and denouncing sloppy implementations.
At the moment, three new standards, CSS, DOM, and XML, are just starting to get rolled out across the Web on a large scale. If each of these is implemented fully, correctly, and without proprietary hacks, the Web Standards folk say, we can look forward to a faster, smarter, better-looking Web. If, on the other hand, each of these is "extended" and "improved" in proprietary incompatible ways by each of the vendors, we can look forward to a repeat of the degeneration of HTML into a tag soup.
WebStandards.Org is offering a selection of pro-standards banners you can use to decorate your Web site, a mailing list, and some rhetoric; but for now there is little detail at the site as to how they plan to pursue their worthy-sounding goal.
At the moment, WebStandards.Org is just a bunch of people with a Web site. Admittedly, the people are well-known [including XML.com's Technical Editor, Tim Bray - Ed.], and the button they are trying to push is a hot one. To get anywhere, they will need more than names; they will need immense energy, and creativity in strategy and tactics, because big companies with commercial interests are hard to move.